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A Windshield Survey can be described as a form of information gathered by an individual after traversing through a particular neighborhood. It is an observational evaluation that aims at revealing particular aspects of the community such as available resources, community safety, communal relations, societal values, state of housing and zoning, the forms of ethnicity and race, open space and service centers, religion and politics, boundaries, stores, street health and morbidity as well as any common signs of decay media. This paper presents a Windshield Survey of San Francisco City Suburbs. Through personal experience, the paper presents a number of reflection concepts and the entire survey findings.
A Windshield Survey of San Francisco City Suburbs
A Windshield Survey can be described as a form of information gathered by an individual after traversing through a particular neighborhood. It is an observational evaluation that aims at revealing particular aspects of the community such as available resources, community safety, communal relations, societal values, state of housing and zoning, the forms of ethnicity and race, open space and service centers, religion and politics, boundaries, stores, street health and morbidity as well as any common signs of decay media. The information gathered through a windshield survey is useful to a nurse especially in identifying purposeful information that can aid in recognizing inclinations, predicaments, needs, organizations, practices and other aspects that establish the state of health in a particular community. To analyze the components of a particular community acquired through a Windshield Survey; the concept of healthy cities becomes imperative.
This paper presents a windshield survey with a reflection of the conditions of San Francisco neighborhood. The survey was carried on the 3rd and 4th days of August 2011. Through personal experience, the paper presents a number of reflection concepts and the entire survey findings. Reflection
In order to effectively conduct a Windshield Survey, an understanding of key concepts is imperative. A community refers to an assemblage of individuals existing in a particular place who practice a common activity, share a common command and are often governed by similar socio-cultural and chronological legacy (Hitchcock et al. 2003). Community health as described by Hitchcock et al. (2003) refers to a public health field that entails the exploration and advancement of the wellbeing of the community. It is therefore a filed that is based on the ecological conditions of the community rather than the community itself. On the other hand, as described by Dunn & Decker (1990), community as client is a concept that is greatly identified in community health nursing. This concept identifies the practice of community nursing as oriented towards the community as it seeks to solve all the healthcare problems of the community.
The current Windshield Survey was conducted at the suburbs of San Francisco City. The area surveyed had a number of health indicators. To identify healthcare indicators present in this area, the Healthy People 2020 concept presented by The Healthy Communities Institute (2011) was analyzed. A concise analysis of this concept revealed that this area had a number of health indicators with substance abuse being one of the most important health indicators. As indicated by The Healthy Communities Institute (2011), the targets put forward to cater for substance abuse in San Francisco have not been met. The targets set (11.3 deaths per 100,000 individuals) have not been met since current deaths due to substance abuse range at 20.9 per 100,000 (The Healthy Communities Institute, 2011).
In order to positively affect the substance abuse health indicator; it is crucial that the services of the community health nurse are provided. As described by Lundy & Janes (2009), substance abuse is a public health issue that adversely affects the community especially the youth.
The consequences that amount out of substance abuse are encountered by community health nurses especially the treatment and rehabilitation aspects (Hitchcock et al. 2003). Since the community health nurse is centrally placed within the community, he/she has a role to play in assisting the community to deal with substance abuse. The nurse must actively participate in programs aimed at sensitizing the community on the harmful health impacts of substance abuse (Lundy & Janes, 2009). As denoted by Hitchcock et al. (2003), since these programs are focused on the population, the messages put forward would positively impact on reducing the rate of substance abuse. Further, as described by Lundy & Janes (2009), nurses must be engaged in counseling, referral of cases, treatment as well as rehabilitation of the victims of substance abuse. Well coordinated roles will positively impact on reducing the rates of substance abuse within San Francisco.
To effectively assist in the efforts aimed at positively influencing substance abuse as a Healthy People 2020 indicator, community health partnership is imperative. A program in which the community collaborates with the healthcare personnel in offering counseling, referrals and rehabilitation services is crucial in dealing with substance abuse in San Francisco. As described by Drevdahl et al. (2001), this partnership must establish programs owned by the youth in which the youth come together to discuss the harmful effects of substance abuse as well as establish constructive activities that would discourage them from further engaging in substance abuse (Drevdahl et al., 2001).
The Windshield Survey of the suburbs of San Francisco revealed a number of communal aspects that could affect health. As identified, most of the inhabitants of the suburbs of San Francisco are illiterate. Illiteracy as identified during the survey is an aspect that has influenced the health seeking behavior of the inhabitants especially when it came to issues of maternal and child health and reproductive health. Moreover, the community lacks adequate sanitation facilities. Most of them live in slum related conditions that lack adequate sanitation. As analyzed, this is an aspect that has exposed the community to sanitation related diseases and illnesses. Further, the community lacks adequate supply of clean water. Though several taps are present, as analyzed, they are not enough for the community. Due to this, the community has turned into using contaminated water that has exposed them to waterborne diseases (The Healthy Communities Institute, 2011).
Community nursing diagnoses is a crucial activity in identifying the problems present in a particular community (Carpenito-Moyet, 2008). During the Windshield Survey, it was not easy to select nursing diagnoses since many of them existed in the community. First, the community lacked effective coping strategies for their health related problems as evidenced by the inclined levels of poverty that were present in the community and the high levels of job loss occasioned by the economic crisis as well as the higher cases of poor housing and lack of food resources (The Healthy Communities Institute, 2011).Two nursing interventions related to this diagnosis were identified. First, the importance of exploring the measures capable of countering the existent problems was identified. The second intervention was to establish a resource group for the community that would be useful in assisting the community to air their problems especially those related to poverty to the city’s administration (Hitchcock et al. 2003). A second diagnosis was the availability of high levels of anxiety occurring due to high rates of pregnancy as well as the deficiencies in communal resources as evidenced by the low levels of educational standards as well as familial maintenance. To counter the impacts of this diagnosis, two measures were identified.
The provision of educational support to the community in matters related to pregnancies during teen ages was identified. It was also crucial that a community based group be established to address matters related to the increased cases of teen pregnancies (The Healthy Communities Institute, 2011). A third diagnosis chosen was survival, hopelessness and inclination that was associated with inclined societal relations. To cater for this diagnosis, the role of establishing support groups within the society was identified. Another intervention identified was the establishment of programs aimed at identifying the communal resources available and the nature of ownership as this will help them in utilizing the available resources to solve their problems.
There are many community health partnerships that can be useful in the nursing interventions related to each diagnosis. A communal treatment plan in partnership must be established to educate the women on matters related to reproductive health such as control of births. This would cater for deficits in knowledge existing within the population. Cultural diversity is crucial in community health. It defines the extent of care given to a certain population (Hitchcock et al. 2003). As described by Drevdahl et al. (2001), although an unusual aspect, bias is bound to occur during community nursing practice. As a nurse works in the same community for a long period of time, he or she becomes used to the community members and the community members also become used to the same nurse. This means that each party becomes used to the other party’s way of thinking. This affects service delivery hence the need for working in diverse cultures.
Windshield Survey Table
Housing and zoning•The available housing conditions in the suburbs of San Francisco resemble those of a general slum environment. •Zoning in the community is not effectively coordinated since houses have been built without any plan. Transportation
•Transportation facilities are minimal. There are no tarmac roads within the suburbs. •Inhabitants use cheap means of transport with bicycles and motorbikes being the most important means of transport. Race and ethnicity •The suburbs have a mixture of races although the most dominant race in the suburbs is the white Americans. •Ethnicity is not a key factor in the suburbs
•There are no major boundaries within the suburbs although earth roads criss-crossing the suburbs are used as boundaries. •Boundaries only exist within the suburbs and the developed section of the city. •Boundaries are man-made although a river that cuts across the suburb has acted as a natural boundary. Service centers•Within the suburbs, only two hospitals owned by the city council exist. These health facilities are however located within the peripheries of the suburb. •Schools are inadequate and the available educational facilities are overcrowded. •The suburb lacks an easy access to healthcare facilities, schools and social amenities. •A police post that caters for the whole suburbs is present within the suburbs •There is lack of a fire station within the suburbs hence increased cases of fires are inadequately responded to. Stores and street people
•No communal stores are available for the community. Since most of the community members are traders, each person has his own store. •Most of the community members can be found on the streets during the day since most of
them own small business located within the streets. •A number of street children are found within the suburb. Signs of decay
•Due to lack of employment, most of the youths have indulged into criminal activities including drug and substance abuse and prostitution. Religion and politics
•Most of the community members are Christians with a minute percentage being Muslims. •Politics is not a relevant activity in these suburbs
•There is a community radio station that caters for the media needs of the community. •This community radio station is sued by the community health workers to sensitize the community on health related issues. Health and morbidity
•Since most of the community members lack an easy access to healthcare, morbidity has increased. •This has been aggravated by the continued declines in health seeking behaviors within the population. •However, community health nurses are currently sensitizing the community on the need for seeking healthcare outside the suburbs. Open space
•The planning department of the city has allocated the suburbs with an open space where children play during the weekends. •However, owing to the increasing population, the open space is slowly being encroached as community members built shanties.